Programme Officer: Extractives and Infrastructure, Climate Change – South Africa

Who is Natural Justice?

Natural Justice is a young and fast-paced non-profit organization specializing in human rights and environmental law. We are an African pioneering team of legal practitioners, who conduct comprehensive research on environmental and human rights law, support communities and local organizations, provide technical advice to governments and intergovernmental organizations, and engage in key international legal processes in pursuit of environmental justice. Natural Justice works in a number of African countries, with its headquarters in Cape Town and teams in Kenya and Benin.

What are we looking for?

Mining and related infrastructure activities can lead to environmental degradation, impact the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities and exacerbate the problems associated with climate change. Ideally, where communities suffer due to this degradation, substantial fines and penalties for environmental non-compliance ought to take place. While regulations to minimize and mitigate damage exist, their implementation is often poor. Additionally, the implementation and enforcement of relevant laws granting such remedies are poorly coordinated with little to no integration.

Natural Justice is undertaking research that examines the strategies used by communities and civil society to mitigate impacts and offer adequate remedies to people affected by extractives and infrastructure projects. This would form part of a four-country study that aims to share and improve upon the strategies and programs being applied in different contexts.

Additionally, the Climate Change Programme is undertaking research on ecosystem based approaches to climate change and seeking to understand the applicable international and African legal frameworks and how these are being applied in the South African context.

We are seeking a program officer to undertake the research in South Africa, as well as provide technical advice to affected groups when required. The successful candidate will be based in South Africa, with occasional international and national travel and will be expected to begin work immediately.

What’s on offer?

Natural Justice is a close-knit and nurturing collective that places emphasis on facilitating opportunities for the professional and personal growth of its members. Natural Justice will offer a competitive salary commensurate with skill and experience. The contract length will be for an initial period of 8 months, to coincide with the project term, but with the intention of a longer-term arrangement. Joining Natural Justice will also give the successful candidate a chance to work with a passionate and highly professional team in a fast-paced environment and gain valuable national and regional experience.

What will the role include?

The successful candidate will develop a research report to investigate the various strategies being used in South Africa to mitigate the impacts of extractives and infrastructure projects. This will include: developing a research methodology; conducting desktop and field research with affected groups, government, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders; assessing the compliance of extractives and infrastructure projects with regional and national laws and regulations; leading a legal review of laws and policies in ecosystem based approaches to climate change; participate in the identification of legal empowerment strategies used to mitigate impacts of extractives and climate change; delivering presentations and conducting workshops, particularly with affected groups; provide technical advice to affected groups; write research reports, concept documents, academic papers, organisational reports; and sharing research findings with stakeholders and at relevant national and international fora. The program officer would report to the Natural Justice team in Cape Town and the Director of the Extractives and Infrastructure Program.

Minimum qualifications and experience required:

  • An undergraduate degree in law or other relevant social science discipline
  • At least 3 years work expertise in environmental law, including natural resource and/or land law
  • Experience with conducting primary and/or desktop research and preparing clear and analytical reports (preferably proof of published work)
  • Experience conducting field research and working with communities
  • Experience with relating national policy research to policy advocacy
  • Experience in identifying implications of policies and laws for marginalized communities or groups
  • Understanding of, and proficiency in, the South African legal system and institutional arrangements
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including through online platforms
  • Resident of South Africa with a valid work permit, which, at the very least, will remain valid for the duration of the engagement;
  • Fluency in English

Desirable qualifications, experience and attributes:

  • A postgraduate degree in law or equivalent degree
  • Demonstrated experience working with communities and/or civil society organizations or networks, particularly in South Africa
  • Working experience with South African mining legal frameworks
  • A strong knowledge of one or more of the official languages of South Africa (other than English)
  • Keen interest in and commitment to advancing the rights of minority/indigenous communities, particularly in relation to their territories, areas and natural resources
  • Ability to work both in teams and independently, with little supervision
  • Willingness to travel on a regular basis, and work with local organizations and communities in remote areas
  • Ability to communicate complex legal issues in an accessible way to communities

Application process:

Deadline: 17 November 2017, 17.00 GMT

Please email your application for the attention of Gino Cocchiaro (admin.nbo(at)naturaljustice.org) with the job title in the subject line. Include a motivation letter that indicates why you feel you are the best candidate for this position, a detailed CV with three references, and maximum three samples of your past work (for example, articles or research reports). Please ensure that your application as a whole speaks to the required skills and experience and desirable traits and attributes listed above. This position is a re-advertisement and previous applicants may re-apply.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Best of luck!
The Natural Justice Team

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